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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A role for the hypoblast (AVE) in the initiation of neural induction, independent of its ability to position the primitive streak.

The mouse anterior visceral endoderm (AVE) has been implicated in embryonic polarity: it helps to position the primitive streak and some have suggested that it might act as a "head organizer", inducing forebrain directly. Here we explore the role of the hypoblast (the chick equivalent of the AVE) in the early steps of neural induction and patterning. We report that the hypoblast can induce a set of very early markers that are later expressed in the nervous system and in the forebrain, but only transiently. Different combinations of signals are responsible for different aspects of this early transient induction: FGF initiates expression of Sox3 and ERNI, retinoic acid can induce Cyp26A1 and only a combination of low levels of FGF8 together with Wnt- and BMP-antagonists can induce Otx2. BMP- and Wnt-antagonists and retinoic acid, in different combinations, can maintain the otherwise transient induction of these markers. However, neither the hypoblast nor any of these factors or combinations thereof can induce the definitive neural marker Sox2 or the formation of a mature neural plate or a forebrain, suggesting that the hypoblast is not a head organizer and that other signals remain to be identified. Interestingly, FGF and retinoids, generally considered as caudalizing factors, are shown here to play a role in the induction of a transient "pre-neural/pre-forebrain" state.[1]


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